The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declined a Huawei appeal to reconsider a designation of it as a security threat, and pressed ahead with a programme to help smaller operators replace untrustworthy equipment.

During a meeting, all five Commissioners voted to deny Huawei’s petition for review, with chairman Ajit Pai citing a “laundry list of evidence” against the vendor including alleged “close ties” to China’s military and independent assessments branding its equipment “less secure than that of other companies, perhaps deliberately so”.

These prove the FCC’s “concerns about Huawei aren’t just hypothetical”.

Huawei and Chinese rival ZTE were formally named security threats in June, when the regulator affirmed an assessment made in late 2019. The move blocked US operators from using government subsidies to purchase, use or maintain equipment or services from either manufacturer.

A petition from ZTE was rejected last month.

Pai concluded the decision to uphold Huawei’s threat designation would “have a direct and positive impact on the security and integrity of America’s networks”.

Huawei denies it poses a security threat.

In a separate vote, the Commission also approved rules for a reimbursement programme covering smaller operators, though noted the scheme is yet to be allocated funding by the US Congress.

The FCC previously estimated $1.6 billion would be required to cover the cost of removing equipment from makers including Huawei and ZTE